Atlanta Georgia Concert Venue Guide
This is not an exhaustive list of all the concert venues, but it is a primer of a few main ones.
The Tabernacle is one of my favorite venues. The Tabernacle, if you can't deduce from the name, is an old church that has been converted into a venue for some of the heaviest famous rock bands (as well as all other imaginable genres) to visit Atlanta. The Tabernacle is a large building with several levels and a 2,600 capacity. You can watch the show from the area near the stage where there is no assigned seating, or you may opt for a safer perch in the balconies. No matter what you decide, seeing and hearing a band here is an exhilerating experience.
Be aware that if you remain near the stage at a rock show here, inevitably, a mosh pit will form and you will have people crashing into you and kicking you in the head as they crowd surf over you. If you've ever been to a rock show before, you expect this, but it's a fair warning for those who haven't. This is an obvious tip, but avoid standing in front of the large speakers on the sides of the stage or you be deaf for a few days.
You will likely find yourself waiting in a long line the day of a concert, and depending on which band you've chosen to see, you may be harrassed by protesters. The Tabernacle is in downtown Atlanta, and consequently, you will always find there are homeless people in this area. Generally, there is no cause for alarm. Remain cautious as you would in any large city, and firmly tell them no when asked for your tickets, money, etc.
This venue features VIP seating, which may or may not include additional benefits like meeting the band. Do not wear spiky jewelry or carry a camera to this venue. If you want to be admitted, you will be required to throw away your belongings or make a long trek back to your car. Tickets may cost anywhere from $30 to over $100.
The Masquerade has featured many major bands such as White Zombie and Type O Negative, as well as local metal and rock bands. I've seen semi-famous bands here for for under $20. The Masquerade features three levels: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell. Heaven is a 1,000-capacity concert area. Hell, is a dance club area downstairs that features DJs and subculture events.
I love The Masquerade because there is no assigned seating, you can see the band up close and personal during the show, and there is a good chance of meeting the band after the show. It is in a sketchy area, and like in any large city, you should have a heightened sense of your surroundings. Auto theft and armed robbery have occurred while my friends and I were here. Tickets may cost anywhere from $12 to over $40.
Hi-Fi Buys (was once Lakewood) is a massive concert venue where you may attend large events like Ozzfest. There is a main stage where the biggest acts play, and there are smaller side stages. You can purchase tickets for the mosh pit and assigned seating area, or you can sit on the lawn.
If you visit this venue in the summer, drink lots of water and refrain from guzzling lots of beer. People were passing out from the heat and lack of hydration when I went to Ozzfest several years ago. It has a seating capacity of 19,000. (Reserved 7000, Lawn 12,000). Tickets will be expensive.
Variety Playhouse is located near Little Five Points, and has featured many well-known bands such as The Misfits, Sleater-Kinney, and Concrete Blonde. Variety Playhouse is another smaller venue without assigned seating, so you can enjoy seeing the band close-up. You probably won't experience any criminal activity. Observe usual common sense rules like locking your car doors and hiding valuables.
The Roxy has featured many major acts, and I experienced one of my all-time favorite shows there when I saw Jerry Cantrell. There will likely be an opportunity to meet the band if you visit this venue. I have not attended enough shows to give a ticket price range, but expect to pay at least $30 for well-known acts.
Stay tuned for more posts like this, and hear about my experiences at concert venues in other cities.